American Stroke Foundation

WellnessRelaxation and Meditation for Stroke Survivors

Relaxation and Meditation for Stroke Survivors

This video is a great way to practice mindfulness through progressive muscle relaxation. Throughout your stroke recovery, it’s okay to feel stressed or anxious. This exercise helps you take a moment to recognize those emotions, as well as tightness in your muscles caused by substitution patterns or holding stress in different areas of your body. Take a moment to be present and release those mental and physical sensations.

Get Comfortable

Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. Focus on your breathing. Breath in for 5 seconds and breath out for 5-6 seconds. Continue breathing for 3 repetitions. Try to focus on that still place in between your breathing.

Next, we are going to try some progressive muscle relaxation techniques in which you will tense individual muscles and then let them go, releasing the tension and letting your body and mind find relaxation.


Again…Slowly breath in and hold. Remember to exhale slowly…Repeat 3 times.

Your mind may wander, which is normal. Acknowledge it and then bring yourself back to focus on the present.

Let Go of the Tension

As we tense each group of muscles, breath in. Then, as you let go of the tension, breath out.

  1. Tense your feet – curl toes as if you are digging in the sand; then slowly relax
  2. Tense calves; then, slowly release tension in calves
  3. Tense upper legs and pelvis – do this by squeezing thighs together; then, relax
  4. Tense stomach – hold; breath out and release – your body may feel slightly limp

Breathe and Relax

Take a break to breathe 3 times. Notice the relaxation in your body.

  1. Tense back muscles – squeeze shoulder blades together without strain; slowly relax
  2. Tense arms – from fingers to shoulders, make a fist and squeeze; now, relax
  3. Tense neck and face – shut eyes and purse lips; relax
  4. Tense entire body – hold; slowly release tension

Remember Those Deep Breaths

Allow your body to go completely limp and notice the difference between the tension and the relaxed state of your muscles.

Remember those deep breaths…Let’s do 3 more. Begin to slowly wake up your muscles, and stretch them out.

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